Ok – we’re almost done with this kick drum series! I didn’t realize quite how much there was to say on this topic…
The high pass filter might seem like a counterintuitive element to incorporate into designing a kick drum sound, but it’s a very useful tool. This is because a resonant high pass filter can be used to exaggerate some low frequencies, while sharply reducing the frequencies below the cutoff point.
This is a very auspicious shape for a kick. You want a nice big thump in the sweet spot, but if there’s too much sub frequency below, it ends up rumbling and losing some of its rhythmic impact.
In particular, you may find the high pass filter to be helpful when you want a kick to be fast without being wimpy. In other words, without the filter, you may find that you need a long decay time to get the low end of a kick drum to really come out – but long decay is not always an attribute you’re looking for. The filter can really help put some muscle into a punchy and quick kick sound.
Make sure to experiment with the different HP filter types, and spend some time playing with the parameters. For example, with the kick sound I’m experimenting with right now, The High 24db filter sounds great with the settings shown above, but High Ladder sounds better set up like this:
Just be careful when switching modes. With the high Resonanace shown above, High 24db may cause your speakers to rupture or burst into flames.